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17th of July 2018

Social Media



Facebook rolls out more API restrictions and shutdowns

Following the Cambridge Analytica data misuse scandal and the more recent discovery of a Facebook app that had been leaking data on 120 million users, Facebook is today announcing a number of API changes aimed at better protecting user information. The changes will impact multiple developer-facing APIs, including those used to create social experiences on the site, as well as those for media partners, and more.

Some of the APIs are being shuttered for low adoption, while others will require app reviews going forward, Facebook said.

The company said the following API restrictions were now being put into place:

Graph API Explorer App: Facebook will deprecate its test app today. Developers will need to use their own apps’ access tokens to test their queries on the Graph API Explorer going forward. Profile Expression Kit: This let developers build apps that allowed people to jazz up their profile photos or create profile videos. This one seems to be lumped in the group of shutdowns not because of misuse potential, but because it had low adoption. It will shut down October 1. Media Solutions APIs: On August 1, Facebook is shutting down Topic Search, Topic Insights and Topic Feed and Public Figure APIs due to low usage. It already deprecated the Trending API and Signal tool for journalists, the Trending Topics product and the Hashtag Voting for interactive TV experiences. Going forward, Facebook says public content discovery APIs will be limited to page content and public posts on certain verified profiles. Pages API: Developers can search using the Pages API again, but will need feature permissions to Page Public Content Access, which can only be obtained through the app review process. Marketing API: Developers will have to go through an app review before they can use this API. Leads Ads Retrieval: Facebook is introducing new app review permissions for this, too. Live Video APIs: Will also have new app review permissions.

The changes were detailed in a post published in the Facebook Newsroom, which hinted they would not be the last.

The company has been auditing its app ecosystem in an effort to find other apps that may have been leaking data. Related to this effort, it previously announced a series of other API changes aimed at getting a better handle on how Facebook apps can access and use people’s information.

This latest batch of API changes doesn’t include some of the higher-profile APIs — like when Facebook made changes to Facebook Login, Groups, Events and other APIs back in April. However, it does indicate that the developer platform review process is still underway, and more APIs will likely still be addressed in the future.

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